The Foot Wore A Spiked Heel

It was 48 years ago this week that the queer community of New York City finally said “Enough!” As I’ve done for the last few years on this day, I’m reposting the story that the New York Daily News ran one week after the Stonewall Riots. Note how the story drips with condescension and ridicule. We’ve come a long, long way in 48 years and we’ve still got some distance to cover, but today we should all offer up a shout and a snap to the people who helped start us down this road.

HOMO NEST RAIDED – QUEEN BEES ARE STINGING MAD

-by Jerry Lisker, New York Daily News, July 6th 1969

She sat there with her legs crossed, the lashes of her mascara-coated eyes beating like the wings of a hummingbird. She was angry. She was so upset she hadn’t bothered to shave. A day old stubble was beginning to push through the pancake makeup. She was a he. A queen of Christopher Street.

Last weekend the queens had turned commandos and stood bra strap to bra strap against an invasion of the helmeted Tactical Patrol Force. The elite police squad had shut down one of their private gay clubs, the Stonewall Inn at 57 Christopher St., in the heart of a three-block homosexual community in Greenwich Village. Queen Power reared its bleached blonde head in revolt. New York City experienced its first homosexual riot. “We may have lost the battle, sweets, but the war is far from over,” lisped an unofficial lady-in-waiting from the court of the Queens.

“We’ve had all we can take from the Gestapo,” the spokesman, or spokeswoman, continued. “We’re putting our foot down once and for all.” The foot wore a spiked heel. According to reports, the Stonewall Inn, a two-story structure with a sand painted brick and opaque glass facade, was a mecca for the homosexual element in the village who wanted nothing but a private little place where they could congregate, drink, dance and do whatever little girls do when they get together.

The thick glass shut out the outside world of the street. Inside, the Stonewall bathed in wild, bright psychedelic lights, while the patrons writhed to the sounds of a juke box on a square dance floor surrounded by booths and tables. The bar did a good business and the waiters, or waitresses, were always kept busy, as they snaked their way around the dancing customers to the booths and tables. For nearly two years, peace and tranquility reigned supreme for the Alice in Wonderland clientele.

The Raid Last Friday

Last Friday the privacy of the Stonewall was invaded by police from the First Division. It was a raid. They had a warrant. After two years, police said they had been informed that liquor was being served on the premises. Since the Stonewall was without a license, the place was being closed. It was the law.

All hell broke loose when the police entered the Stonewall. The girls instinctively reached for each other. Others stood frozen, locked in an embrace of fear.

Only a handful of police were on hand for the initial landing in the homosexual beachhead. They ushered the patrons out onto Christopher Street, just off Sheridan Square. A crowd had formed in front of the Stonewall and the customers were greeted with cheers of encouragement from the gallery.

The whole proceeding took on the aura of a homosexual Academy Awards Night. The Queens pranced out to the street blowing kisses and waving to the crowd. A beauty of a specimen named Stella wailed uncontrollably while being led to the sidewalk in front of the Stonewall by a cop. She later confessed that she didn’t protest the manhandling by the officer, it was just that her hair was in curlers and she was afraid her new beau might be in the crowd and spot her. She didn’t want him to see her this way, she wept.

Queen Power

The crowd began to get out of hand, eye witnesses said. Then, without warning, Queen Power exploded with all the fury of a gay atomic bomb. Queens, princesses and ladies-in-waiting began hurling anything they could get their polished, manicured fingernails on. Bobby pins, compacts, curlers, lipstick tubes and other femme fatale missiles were flying in the direction of the cops. The war was on. The lilies of the valley had become carnivorous jungle plants.

Urged on by cries of “C’mon girls, lets go get ’em,” the defenders of Stonewall launched an attack. The cops called for assistance. To the rescue came the Tactical Patrol Force.

Flushed with the excitement of battle, a fellow called Gloria pranced around like Wonder Woman, while several Florence Nightingales administered first aid to the fallen warriors. There were some assorted scratches and bruises, but nothing serious was suffered by the honeys turned Madwoman of Chaillot.

Official reports listed four injured policemen with 13 arrests. The War of the Roses lasted about 2 hours from about midnight to 2 a.m. There was a return bout Wednesday night.

Two veterans recently recalled the battle and issued a warning to the cops. “If they close up all the gay joints in this area, there is going to be all out war.”

Bruce and Nan

Both said they were refugees from Indiana and had come to New York where they could live together happily ever after. They were in their early 20’s. They preferred to be called by their married names, Bruce and Nan.

“I don’t like your paper,” Nan lisped matter-of-factly. “It’s anti-fag and pro-cop.”

“I’ll bet you didn’t see what they did to the Stonewall. Did the pigs tell you that they smashed everything in sight? Did you ask them why they stole money out of the cash register and then smashed it with a sledge hammer? Did you ask them why it took them two years to discover that the Stonewall didn’t have a liquor license.”

Bruce nodded in agreement and reached over for Nan’s trembling hands.

“Calm down, doll,” he said. “Your face is getting all flushed.”

Nan wiped her face with a tissue.

“This would have to happen right before the wedding. The reception was going to be held at the Stonewall, too,” Nan said, tossing her ashen-tinted hair over her shoulder.

“What wedding?,” the bystander asked.

Nan frowned with a how-could-anybody-be-so-stupid look. “Eric and Jack’s wedding, of course. They’re finally tying the knot. I thought they’d never get together.”

Meet Shirley

“We’ll have to find another place, that’s all there is to it,” Bruce sighed. “But every time we start a place, the cops break it up sooner or later.”

“They let us operate just as long as the payoff is regular,” Nan said bitterly. “I believe they closed up the Stonewall because there was some trouble with the payoff to the cops. I think that’s the real reason. It’s a shame. It was such a lovely place. We never bothered anybody. Why couldn’t they leave us alone?”

Shirley Evans, a neighbor with two children, agrees that the Stonewall was not a rowdy place and the persons who frequented the club were never troublesome. She lives at 45 Christopher St.

“Up until the night of the police raid there was never any trouble there,” she said. “The homosexuals minded their own business and never bothered a soul. There were never any fights or hollering, or anything like that. They just wanted to be left alone. I don’t know what they did inside, but that’s their business. I was never in there myself. It was just awful when the police came. It was like a swarm of hornets attacking a bunch of butterflies.”

A reporter visited the now closed Stonewall and it indeed looked like a cyclone had struck the premises.

Police said there were over 200 people in the Stonewall when they entered with a warrant. The crowd outside was estimated at 500 to 1,000. According to police, the Stonewall had been under observation for some time. Being a private club, plain clothesmen were refused entrance to the inside when they periodically tried to check the place. “They had the tightest security in the Village,” a First Division officer said, “We could never get near the place without a warrant.”

Police Talk

The men of the First Division were unable to find any humor in the situation, despite the comical overtones of the raid.

“They were throwing more than lace hankies,” one inspector said. “I was almost decapitated by a slab of thick glass. It was thrown like a discus and just missed my throat by inches. The beer can didn’t miss, though, “it hit me right above the temple.”

Police also believe the club was operated by Mafia connected owners. The police did confiscate the Stonewall’s cash register as proceeds from an illegal operation. The receipts were counted and are on file at the division headquarters. The warrant was served and the establishment closed on the grounds it was an illegal membership club with no license, and no license to serve liquor.

The police are sure of one thing. They haven’t heard the last from the Girls of Christopher Street.

They sure fucking haven’t! Now get your ass up and go to the parade. 

  • Mrs. Councillor Nugent
  • Do Something Nice

    With all the angst and anger over who threw the first bottle and who is ‘re-writing’ gay history regarding Stonewall, can’t we all just agree that every community within LGBTQ (and whatever) is important and shall never be maligned?

    The important thing isn’t WHO threw the first bottle. The important thing is that we fought back. We need stick together, and we need stick up for each other and never give up.

    For those who value accurate history over the political significance of Stonewall and what has happened since, you are delusional. In the history of history, there has never been “accurate” history. What you’ve been led to believe as being accurate is full of lies and/or myths.

    • Ningsisa

      I agree. There is no one history of stonewall. There are many perspectives on what happened over those days. Sadly the community often does not PRACTICE what you rightfully just preached.

    • Dreaming Vertebrate

      *Alt-history

    • Dramphooey

      People are still talking about that? I’m glad it ain’t ’round these parts.

    • Mrs. Councillor Nugent

      History is the process of locating Truth with a faulty GPS system

      • David Walker

        I like that.

      • Phillip in L.A.

        There’s a GPS system for locating Truth now?!?

        • Mrs. Councillor Nugent

          backordered

          • Phillip in L.A.

            Damn!

  • Bluto

    Thanks Joe, it’s good to remember how far we’ve come in many ways.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ec88f673687dbd706ff1189661627e247397b20f38cca52c9ea7e967598174b0.jpg

    • Ric Kelley

      I KNOW that’s right! (Snap)

  • JT

    Lisker didn’t even identify the day correctly.

    • Pat

      Too busy being snide. Well ultimately, the joke’s on him. The Empire State building is lit up in rainbow colors for Pride. If he were still alive, he could chew on that.

  • PickyPecker
    • shellback

      Even better:
      REVOLT

    • TuuxKabin

      PERSIST. INSIST. ENLIST. GET PIST. NEVER DESIST. AND TRY TO GET KISSED. Happy PRIDE DAY from NYC, Picky Pecker and everyone else.

      • SoCalGal20

        Perfect! Happy Pride, Tuux! Are you and El Hubcap attending Pride festivities today?

        • TuuxKabin

          Hi SoCalGal. No. A physical limitation keeps me from crowds and long walks, or standing for any longer than it takes to prepare a quick dinner.

          On our way back down B’dway, from the farmers’ mkt. @ Columbia U, there was a kaleidoscope of, prolly CU students, all young Asian men, hair streaked with rainbow colors, covered in PRIDE colors, head to toe with poles attached to their arms in butterfly iridescent colors. Once I load into the computer thing I’ll attach and send to you. I, of course asked, after praising them and laughing at their ‘flockiness’, their permission to take a photo, and one, real potty mouth, put his hand on his hip and said, “you think we came out here looking like this for nothing?!’ and everyone, including bystanders burst into laughter. Bob started taking some snaps, one of them said, “that’ll be five dollars.” Bob answered, “I was prepared to pay 20.” They made the morning.

          Hope you have a well deserved good Sunday. Weather is perfection here. Finally.

          • Phillip in L.A.

            Great story, TuuxKabin! Thx for posting, and a very Happy Pride to you and yours! ¡Feliz día de Pride! 🙂

          • SoCalGal20

            Had a great Sunday. Went to delicious brunch in Hillcrest (the gayborhood in San Diego) with a friend of mine, then we went over to Balboa Park for a bit, then we went to see Wonder Woman. It was a perfect day weather-wise.

          • sdnative1958

            So glad you enjoyed my home town!

          • TuuxKabin

            Except for Wonder Woman, we had similar days. Delicious lunch with Strauss Park across the street. A smallish triangular park where B’dway swerves west slightly, at the top of West End Avenue, corner of Duke Ellington Blvd., aka W 106th St. The park is in memory of passengers on the Titanic who perished, from this neighborhood. A beautiful reclining statue / fountain. A carving on the marble or granite wall behind it, of how Ida and Isadore Strauss perished, bonded by love. She refused to board the life boat without her husband. He was a former US Member of Congress and founded Gimbel’s with a relative. I think they had something to do with Macy’s as well. I did a collage of the block surrounding us. West End Avenue, W 195th St., Riverside Drive, and Duke Ellington Blvd. for the collage workshop I’m leading. I’ll send copy along to you. It’s really a quiet area, for NYC, but still a lot of activity.

            Good Monday morning. Cool and refreshing here.

          • SoCalGal20

            Great story! Look forward to the photo!

          • Rebeccajtyree

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          • Amandaaweddle

            I’ve made $84,000 so far this year working online and I’m a full time student. I’m using an online business opportunity I heard about and I’ve made such great money. It’s really user friendly and I’m just so happy that I found out about it. The potential with this is endless. Here’s what I do
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      • Ken M

        ACT UP of the 21st century. Happy Pride and keep your voice LOUD! Thanks again for remembering.

        • Xiao Ai: The Social Gadfly

          AHCA=DEATH!

  • Silver Badger

    As politically incorrect as it may be, I would like to remind people that all of the peaceful protest and demonstration proceeding Stonewall did very little. It took a riot to get gay equality started. We must be willing to fight to get any results.

    • OdieDenCO

      a bully never backs down from someone saying please don’t. the advice on how to handle a bully is and always has been to stand up and fight back.

      • David Walker

        A swift kick to the balls usually works pretty well. One or two follow-up kicks tend to be felt even though his hands are cupped over his boys. It seems to be an appropriate response. Extra points if your sneaks are rainbow colored.

        • Silver Badger

          And steel toed.

    • David Walker

      It’s important to remember that Dr. King’s non-violent protests went a long way in securing equal rights for African Americans. It’s also important to remember that the Black Panthers and other groups like it were there, too. Teddy Roosevelt’s “speak softly but carry a big stick” is another way to put it.

      • Silver Badger

        I agree. Don’t start trouble. Don’t be afraid to end it.

  • JT

    “They were throwing more than lace hankies,” one inspector said. “I was almost decapitated by a slab of thick glass. It was thrown like a discus and just missed my throat by inches. The beer can didn’t miss, though, “it hit me right above the
    temple.”

    Let that be a lesson to you and those like you.

  • PickyPecker

    However you celebrate Pride remember: we have come a long way, but must remain vigilant or we will lose what we have gained.
    Celebrate, my brothers and sisters. Be safe; be together; be proud!
    http://pride-institute.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/slider01-1280×625.jpg

    • Dreaming Vertebrate

      No thanks to the homocons, who never did a thing to help.

      • Ninja0980

        And who will gladly vote for and cheer folks who will roll back our rights.

      • Dagoril

        I saw the LCR booth at SF Pride yesterday. A sad, empty booth with 3 sad, empty homocons in it. They were ignored by all, as is appropriate.

        • Dreaming Vertebrate

          LOL = “empty homocons”. So true.

          • JCF

            Lysistrata, guys: keep ’em empty! ;-/

  • LovesIrony

    I love the neighbor that rightly laid blame on the pigs

  • Cousin Bleh

    Hey guys, here’s a bigoted, condescending, mostly false account of what happened at Stonewall written by a man who wasn’t there.

    But I’m going to rerun it every year.

    • Dramphooey

      I’m surprised you don’t see our smirking over this failed view of the world for what it is.

    • Gigi

      And you wonder why you never get invited to parties.

    • MarkOH

      So sad. Instead of providing some alternative source, you demean a historical article and the person who posted. Posted it, mind you, AS a historical piece of how far we’ve come.
      Unfortunately, there are still some, such as yourself, who are either so ungrateful of the sacrifice of those who came before them, or are such self loathing haters that they try to bring everyone else down to their level.
      I CHOOSE to spend this weekend, thanking all those who fought for my right to live with my husband of 25 years. Who sacrificed their lives and careers so I can be an open gay physician.
      I CHOOSE to see the positive side of such an article which most likely touched a gay kid living in New York at the time, who saw others like him fighting for their God given rights.
      Happy Pride weekend, everyone.

      • Cousin Bleh

        If you think anything positive has ever come out of this hateful article, you’re even dumber than you sound.

        The ironic thing is that everything you said about choosing positivity during Pride weekend is exactly why I find it so disappointing that Joe posts this stupid shit every Pride instead of any number of other better representations of the events at Stonewall. And for the record, it’s his role as blogger to provide content, not mine as commenter.

        The fact is that Joe realized long ago that negative posts draw the ire of his audience, which increases comments, pageviews and ad impressions.

        Also, congrats on being a physician. No idea why that was relevant to this thread other than to stroke your own ego.

        • Amanda B. Rekendwith

          Here’s an idea.
          Why don’t you post any number of other better representations of the events at Stonewallon YOUR blog, and maybe post a link?

        • MarkOH

          Sigh, such a self lothing individual. And, once again, you have nothing to substantiate anything you have to say. Pathetic. Oh well. I spent a very nice evening with friends. Oh, friends, those are people that you are close to. Not that you know of any.

    • jixter

      I’d never seen this story before, Cousin Bleh, and I’m not sorry I just did. I was aware that the New York Times had run a paragraph or two about the “raid”, but I didn’t see their account of it until about 7 or 8 years after the fact, and only because I was delving into gay history and stumbled over it. You have to keep cultural history in mind when you deal with stuff like Lisker’s story. Rapists, murderers, drug addicts, homosexuals, child molesters and assorted street garbage were the inhabitants of big city sewers in those days. Lisker was writing for ‘decent’ people, like himself.

      In the 1960’s and before, homosexuals were sewer people.

    • JCF

      Perhaps you miss the point?

      “The police are sure of one thing. They haven’t heard the last from the Girls of Christopher Street.”

      “They sure fucking haven’t! Now get your ass up and go to the parade.”

    • narutomania

      “It was beautiful, it really was …”

      The best part of that paragraph.

  • Gigi

    Lisker sounds like a self-loathing closet case.

    • Silver Badger

      A GOOGLE search turned up very little. This article may be his only claim to fame before descending to well deserved obscurity. He may have died in 1971. If so may he have gone to his just reward.

      • Dramphooey

        No, we know what happened to him. It’s been discussed here in previous years. He died from brain cancer. http://www.nytimes.com/1993/03/05/obituaries/jerry-lisker-sports-editor-54.html

        • Gigi

          “Jerry Lisker, executive sports editor of the Fox TV Network…” He must have included this article with his resume.

        • Silver Badger

          I had wondered if this was the same man.

      • jixter

        Lisker knew his audience and played to it with his writing – and in that regard, he was completely “of his time”. The attitude conveyed in the story reflected American culture of 1969 perfectly. Keep in mind that, back then, homosexuality was rarely discussed openly and when it was, the tone of the discussion was negative – not neutral and not positive. If you lived in a small town somewhere, like I did, you never even knew Stonewall happened.

        Notice the kicker under the banner ‘SUNDAY NEWS’? It says “New York’s Picture Newspaper”. It was a newspaper for folks who preferred pictures over having to read words. You know, boring.

        To anyone reading: If you get a chance, find a copy of ‘The Boys In The Band’ and treat yourselves to a depressing trip back in time to that era.

        The only good thing about “the good old days” is that they’re gone.

        • Silver Badger

          I lived through those years. In a small Nebraska town. Once was enough.

  • blackstar
  • Ninja0980

    We’ll be seeing this again if Kennedy retires and a right wing SCOTUS rolls back all LGBT rights.
    My husband, who is normally not the type to get angry said he’ll gladly take part in Stonewall part 2 without a second thought, as he is not going back to the days where he had to carry three flash drives and a briefcase filled with documents to ensure we’d be legally protected, something no straight couple would have to do.
    And I will be right there with him.
    I’ll be damned if bigots think I’m going back to filling out different forms or having my marriage nullified because I cross state lines.

    • ZRAinSWVA

      Damn right! There is no going back. Not acceptable.

      And you know what, I truly believe the other 34 people in my office and every neighbor around us, all of them straight, would be right beside us!!!

      • thatotherjean

        Indeed, your neighbor or not, most of us will be right there with you, if it comes to that. This time, you won’t have to fight alone.for the right to be ordinary people.

    • SCOTUS does not like to go against the political leanings of a majority of the American public when it comes to stripping away the rights from an entire class of people. The latest Gallup poll shows that 64% of Americans support marriage equality. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/008030787e14f8d8ce8d846cc74eb26e8fad1cfa2b7ae9153039c59e47f071a9.jpg

  • Rebecca Gardner

    Happy Pride Everyone!

    Now if you’ll excuse me I’m running late. I got a few hundred motorcycles to go help line up.

  • Andymac3

    FYI , this appears to be the Jerry Lisker who wrote the bigoted article. I looked through other publications from a few years ago that talked about the same article and linked to his obituary.

    http://www.nytimes.com/1993/03/05/obituaries/jerry-lisker-sports-editor-54.html

    • jixter

      If he died at 54 in 1993, he was born in 1939 and was about 30 when he wrote this story. ‘The Sunday News’ isn’t listed in his obituary, so this feature might have been the very first ‘byline’ he received. Considering that he was mainly a sports writer, it figures that he’d write his story with the attitude on display. In 1969, a fag was a fag – and they all really wanted to be women anyway, didn’t they?

      I think it’s important that the truth of cultural history doesn’t get lost in the shuffle of generations who are born later.

  • j.martindale

    The attitude of straight superiority reeks in this article, and still pisses me off. Today there are people out there that are seething because they can’t disparage gays publicly like this writer did. We have come a long way in my lifetime.

  • LesbianTippingHabits


    Now, too, everyone can Celebrated Pride by tipping generously for good service.

    This is the very best way anyone of good will can help address economic inequality.

    Remember, tips are good karma. And karma never lies. Happy Pride!

    • dukeofhurl

      What in the fuck does tipping have to do with pride?

      • LesbianTippingHabits


        Spreading good karma in the community. That’s the spirit of Pride.
        Thank you.

  • petewestcentral

    Sneering, condescending, mocking…and dignifying. For someone who stood alone so many times, the news that somebody might stand with you was big news. I made a beeline to Christopher Street.

    • Phillip in L.A.

      Exactly, petewestcentral! I made a similar point upthread. Happy Pride to you!

  • Ken M

    “FROM FIGHTING FOR OUR RIGHTS, TO FIGHTING FOR OUR LIVES” This was the headline in 1985. PRIDE also means survival. Along with Stonewall, let’s take a minute to remember all those who died from GRID (Gay related immune deficiency) or the Gay Plague, as some called it. Their lives are more vividly remembered by the world as when the LGBT community first became world news. It wasn’t the celebration of our lives that started the world’s real knowledge of us, it was our deaths. I’m sorry if I’m sounding morbid, it’s not my intention. However, as a community we must remember how far we “really” have to go. The “partying” and parades are all great, as long as we remember what we’re celebrating is more than we are today. HAPPY PRIDE

    • David Walker

      I have long loved and sometimes used the toast: To friends no longer with us.

      • Ken M

        I wish it was still around in it’s entirety. Did you get a chance to see the “AIDS Quilt?” I walked it in DC and cried the whole time. My mom was with me and did tried her best to understand. I fear my comment upset people. That wasn’t my intent. That’s a beautiful toast btw. : )

        • David Walker

          I didn’t see the DC quilt, but I’ve seen several smaller displays. Early on, NAMES tried to accommodate a region by including quilts for people who lived in that region. I also remember the harassment we faced going into and coming out of a few displays. It was the ’80s, sad, disgusting people emboldened by Falwell and Reagan. I still get pangs of “survivor guilt” sometimes. Why Jim? Why not me?

        • Christopher Smith

          I did see it. I’ll never forget some of the panels, or the day I went. I was still young and naive but I understood.

        • Phillip in L.A.

          I don’t think your comment was inappropriate or very upsetting, Ken M! Part of Pride, and part of our heritage, is expressed in the Quilt; I think it is lovely to remember the folks who would be with us here today, if not for their untimely deaths.

          A few very dear friends and lovers have their own panels, and I have seen it displayed on the Mall in D.C., as well as a smaller part here in Los Angeles. I hope everyone here has a chance to see it displayed at some point in their lives.

  • Igby
  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    I assume that Jerry Lisker is dead. Does anybody know where he is buried, because I want to go piss on his grave. If he’s still alive, I would like to piss on him.

    • Lakeview Bob

      I am astonished that a straight man 48 years ago could write so much negative about gay people without having some personal experience. Makes me wonder if he was a closeted self-loathing gay man himself.

  • Gay Fordham Prep Grad

    Jerry Lisker died of a brain tumor a few years later; I will be charitable and suggest that the writing style in this article was just sign of the disease.

    • edrex

      hmmm…. after reading that article, i fear his writing style might CAUSE brain tumors.

  • He tries so often to dip into sneering transphobia and homophobia, but his words reveal the shape of the truth despite himself. People with lives and loves who were hurting no one by existing being attacked and harassed by cops and had a valiant stand to try and stop it.

    And it’s heartening, that for all the propaganda and lies and slanders being sold, the shape of truth in time reveals itself.

  • narutomania

    I went to Washington D.C. in April 1993 to attend the big march, and I returned in 2000 for another one. I’ve attended a handful of Pride Parades in San Francisco and experienced Mardi Gras in Sydney whilst living there for two years. I even attended a sweet little Pride Cookout and Potluck in a public park north of Ithaca, New York, in 1991. But I’ve never attended a Pride Celebration in New York City. Always been on my Wish List.

    I suspect that these days it would be just too crowded and raucous for my tired 50-something-year-old bones to take.

    I’ll stay at home and knit some nice RESIST-themed accessories. How’s that?! (shnicker)

    RESISTANCE IS UTILE.

  • narutomania

    On a similar note, there is a fun article in The New Yorker (not coincidentally, surely) about Joseph Touchette, who the author of the article believes to be the oldest drag queen in New York City. It’s worth a read.

    http://www.newyorker.com/culture/persons-of-interest/the-last-queen-of-greenwich-village

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c879e0f2d61b2cf76ba5b4b456ce912d4070172025208ab73f19018c226d943c.jpg

  • stevenj
  • Galvestonian

    I came up from Philly the weekend after the raid to check out the Stonewall — even then we all knew it was history in the making …

  • I have a story for you readers here. My mom (much to my surprise) told me that she used to hang out in the gay bars in Greenwich Village in the 60’s with her friends before she got married “because the music was so good” — when she was a student at Hunter College. All purses, handbags, coats — anything had to be searched for cameras. If a photograph was taken of you as a patron in one of these places, your life could essentially be destroyed – blackmail, employment firings — you name it. It’s so good we do not have to go back to those days.

    • Phillip in L.A.

      True, about the searches, but maybe Organized Crime (who got involved in the ownership of gay bars after the end of Prohibition) just didn’t like having competition in the blackmail business!

      Yes, it is very good we do not have to go back to those days!

    • jixter

      Cool story, Eddi Haskell.

      My mother once told us about being taken to Finocchio’s in San Francisco, during World War 2. She went with her Serviceman husband and a group of married friends.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finocchio%27s_Club

  • Gianni

    I wonder if the reporter who wrote this piece of crap is still alive. It sure paints a glaring picture of how too many people felt and thought about gay people. It was perfectly acceptable to denigrate, insult, and belittle us in literally any way one could imagine. Picture all the readers who laughed their asses off while reading about all the gay sickos being treated as less than dirt by the police. I automatically have to chuckle when I think back on all the years since then when the police had absolutely no freaking idea what they were about to unleash on the world when they pulled off that raid on the Stonewall. I also remember, but don’t know if the law was in effect at the time, that there had been a NY law that made it illegal for an establishment to serve alcohol to any known or suspected homosexual. The police rather routinely raided gay bars. They couldn’t all have been lacking a liquor license. ( I see by some earlier comments that Jerry Lisker, the reporter, is dead.)

    • Phillip in L.A.

      The legal history of the New York State Liquor Authority and its attempts to administer morality is complex, but prior to Stonewall, iirc, the New York Court of Appeals ruled that licensees could not be disciplined for serving homosexuals–our status, in other words, was not enough to constitute “disorderly conduct” (as it had been previously!)

      However, if any ‘actual’ “disorderly conduct” was observed by the police or liquor authority (men touching, kissing, etc.), that was still good cause to shut down any bar (but enforced much, much more rigorously against gay establishments or those that catered to us).

      If you are really interested, I can give more detail.

      • Gianni

        Thank you. I would really appreciate whatever you can add to the history.

        • Phillip in L.A.

          I recommend that you read George Chauncey’s book, Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940 (New York: Basic Books, 1994).

          There are two whole chapters dealing with these issues (but obviously this only takes us to 1940), including specifically, the ‘”Pansy Craze” and Prohibition,’ and “The Exclusion of Homosexuality from the Public Sphere in the 1930’s.” He gives extensive quotes from, and citations to, State Liquor Authority case files, as well as documents the history of some of the most important (and/or famous) gay bars in New York City during the period.

        • Phillip in L.A.

          Added a comment here yesterday recommending some sources, such as Professor Chauncey’s book, Gay New York (1994), but it does not seem to be here.

  • katkelly57

    Jerry Lisker was a cunt….no other way around it.

    Seattle Pride Fest and Parade are suuuuuuuuuuper hot today….temps in the 90’s…stay hydrated everyone!

  • Phillip in L.A.

    “The whole proceeding took on the aura of a homosexual Academy Awards Night.”

    Bwahahahahhahhahahaha. Thx, Joe, for posting! Haven’t laughed that hard in a few days! ;~} Seriously, though, this was one of the first articles I read, when first I came across Joe.My.God, many years ago!

    The article DOES “drip with condescension,” although there are glimmerings of empathy–especially for a ‘str8’ paper. Please do not misunderstand me–I am not disagreeing with you, or praising this article unduly. It does, however, perhaps contain a few images and phrases which might help us explain how the attitude of many Americans was changing in the late ’60s toward LGBTQ folk.

    First, the article is fairly long and replete with very expressive detail. If you can imagine being a gay kid in July, 1969, in Des Moines or Wichita Falls or Snowflake Junction–or anywhere else for that matter, which I think you can!–and finding this article, after the ‘adults’ were through scoffing and saying how disgusting we were in it, just think how stoked you would have been to find it!

    You would have been able to learn more about a whole new ‘sub-culture,’ made up of people just like (or more closely like) yourself: where meetings were held, as it were; which neighborhoods might be somewhat sympathetic to you; even the name of streets and clubs and bars. Maybe you would not feel like such a freak–like you were the only one like yourself in the whole world–anymore, perhaps! That must be at least partially good.

    The article also contains some key phrases that are not unsympathetic. For example, law enforcement is referred to as “‘the Gestapo'”; the article also states our “privacy was invaded”–even though a warrant was obtained. The corruption and ineptness of the police and liquor authority are underscored by the quote that LGBTQ clubs keep operating, “‘just as long as the pay-off is regular'”; and also by the testimony of the neighbor that “there was never any trouble there,” and, “the homosexuals minded their own business and never bothered a soul. . . . They just wanted to be left alone.” The article also intimates that the police might have raided the Stonewall Inn at least partially because they were just annoyed that the security of the club was so effective!

    So, while the article is deplorable, false, patriarchal & heterosexist, defamatory, sarcastic, supercilious, discriminatory and odious (not to mention it is “dripping with condescension”!), this Jesuit, at least, can find some small instructive lessons therewithin about the changes that were taking place in larger society in those turbulent years of our childhood. 🙂

  • seant426

    Oh, the Daily News, why I wouldn’t even bother wiping my ass with that rag as that would be redundant. And here’s hoping Jerry Lisker is, well, dead. http://www.nytimes.com/1993/03/05/obituaries/jerry-lisker-sports-editor-54.html

  • JCF

    “Flushed with the excitement of battle, a fellow called Gloria pranced around like Wonder Woman”

    Homophobia, we’re comin’ for you—everywhere!

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0440ef2663146d329bb6e5f19471d7c473c296a0ca9947d6cfac1395420944fb.gif